Release type: Speech


Opening of new Apprentice Connect Australia ACT Provider


The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP
Minister for Skills and Training



I begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we gather today.

I pay my respects to elders and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Thank you for the essential work MEGT does in the skills and training sector across the country.

I know my colleague, the Member for Fraser Daniel Mulino, recently joined you to celebrate a significant milestone – signing up 700,000 apprentices who have gone on to complete their qualifications.


It’s great to be here today to celebrate the opening of your new Canberra office which will deliver support services to apprentices and their employers across the ACT.

You’ve got the great opportunity and responsibility to deliver services in 6 out of 8 employment regions across the country through to July 2026.

As you know, the Albanese Government is working to address significant skills shortages and build a strong and highly skilled workforce, to help build 1.2 million homes, transition our economy to net zero and secure a Future Made in Australia.

Apprentices are vital to us realising all of these ambitious goals.

And from next week, we’re implementing a strengthened apprenticeship support model to deliver focused help to better support apprentices and their employers.

Apprentice Connect Australia Providers will work with apprentices and employers before an apprenticeship begins, to identify individual needs and help apprentices find the right pathway.

There will be an enhanced assessment at the start of an apprenticeship, designed to identify areas where additional support may be required early on, to prevent an apprentice dropping out.

There will be a greater focus on apprentices who face additional barriers to completion.

And there will be strengthened mentoring services for those most in need of support including:

  • Women apprentices in male-dominated trades.
  • First Nations apprentices.
  • Apprentices with disability and those in remote regions.
  • As well as employers needing assistance.

I expect you, and the other providers, to be highly responsive to the needs of apprentices and their employers.

And to also maintain regular contact with apprentices, particularly in the early stages of training when they need support most.

A common theme among the apprentices I have met across the country is the importance of having someone who has their back as they navigate what is often their first job.

As an ACA Provider your role is an important one.

It can mean the difference between dropping out and completing.

If someone takes that first step on their apprentice journey it is incumbent on us to ensure that we support them through to their final step, to completion.

The Albanese Government understands how important a strong apprenticeship system is to support labour market needs.

That’s why I’ve commissioned a Strategic Review of our Apprenticeship Incentive System, to ensure its sustainability in the long-term.

And while that work continues, we’re ensuring priority apprentices and their employers receive the support they need to get skilled up and work ready.

We’re investing $265 million to provide additional support – importantly, reversing some of the baked in cuts left by the Coalition in their last term in government.

From 1 July, priority apprentices will be eligible for an extra $2,000 and their employers an extra $1,000, for a total of $5,000 each.

The equal payments recognise the partnership that is required to ensure apprentices have the best chance of completing their training.

Our government is focused on supporting apprentices and employers so more Australians can receive quality training while they are in paid employment.

Apprenticeships have been and continue to be a key component of Australia’s workforce.

A successful apprenticeship system means a successful and prosperous economy.

As custodians of this system, MEGT will continue to play a critical role - connecting apprentices and employers and providing support at all stages of training to ensure every apprentice has the best possible chance of completing their apprenticeship.

Thank you for your work.